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09.27.13

Aren’t There Too Many Car Types and Brands? The Type of Question Apple/Microsoft Boosters Ask About GNU/Linux…

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 8:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Citroen factory

Summary: A wide range of GNU/Linux distributions as a strength and the problem Microsoft is having with Windows XP

The “Too Many Linux Distros” debate is apparently not dead yet [1]. This piece of FUD almost vanished some years ago, but some people still try to characterise diversity as “fragmentation”. This FUD pattern was popular among Android bashers/haters some years ago. Linux Format is currently entertaining the counter-argument [2,3] and new releases for old PCs [4,5] help remind us that the wide range of distributions suits the diversity of needs. Just as we have trucks, vans, sedans, motorcycles etc. and they come in many colours, designs and so forth with free market competition, in the GNU/Linux world there is modularity which enables creating many systems, either by oneself or by a distributor who targets those in need. Some distributions, like the new Untangle [6], are very task-oriented and some new distributions even merge Chrome OS and Linux Mint [7], combining the best of two popular operating systems.

A world where there is only one GNU/Linux distribution would be a sad world. It would be like Microsoft or Apple. They advocate no choice and no diversity simply because they cannot scale to accommodate and maintain many releases (Microsoft can barely even maintain XP anymore, despite it having a large userbase [8]). They lie about it all simply because it’s simpler than admitting their weaknesses. They want a Boeing-Airbus kind of world, even where cars roam (huge diversity there).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Are There Too Many Linux Distros?

    Since I’ve been following Linux and FOSS (thirteen years or so by my estimation), questions regarding choice, or too much of it, have been bandied about in Linux circles. Some penguinistas point proudly to the long list of GNU/Linux distros, proclaiming choice to be wonderful and a positive aspect of life in the land of Linux. Others bemoan the sheer number of distros, saying having so many of them has made Linux confusing for newcomers and is otherwise inefficient.

  2. Linux Format 176 On Sale Today – Build your own distro
  3. Open Ballot: Beginner’s Distro

    We often introduce new people to Linux, and there’s always that niggling question, what distro to start someone on. Not so long ago, the answer seemed obvious: Ubuntu. However that’s falling from grace at the moment (Ben says: I actually like Unity. Efy, Graham and Andrew disagree).

  4. Tiny Core 5.0 Distribution Is Very Tiny and Powerful

    Robert Shingledecker has announced the immediate availability for download and testing of the Tiny Core 5.0 Linux operating system.

  5. Tiny Core 5.0
  6. Know More About Your Network Traffic than the NSA with Untangle 10

    Untangle Gateway Platform 10, a Linux-based network gateway with pluggable modules for network applications like spam blocking, web filtering, anti-virus, anti-spyware, intrusion prevention, VPN, SSL VPN, and firewall, is now available for download.

  7. When Chrome OS & Linux Mint Collide: The Basics of Cr OS

    Linux has seen a number of interesting, unique and plain off-the-wall distributions in the past, including Tinfoil Hat Linux, CSI Linux and Tiny Core Linux. Linux also continues to rise in popularity, experiencing 5 percent of the OS market share in August 2013, according to W3Schools. One particularly noteworthy distribution combines Google’s Chrome OS with the popular Linux Mint, called Cr OS. The developers call it a chrome-plated OS and are making it as stable and secure as possible.

  8. Few enterprises have completed Windows XP migration: study

    Enterprise businesses are not ready for continual software migrations – including the looming Windows XP retirement – and this is placing firms at risk, according to new research.

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